My Blog: Wine Tasting Can Be How You Feel, and How the Wines Feel

March 18th, 2011

(BORDEAUX) I find it amusing that some people think wine tasting is a science or that scores are final – like the Bible or something. Wine tasting is subjective. Let’s be honest. Whether it’s my opinion or it’s Bob Parker’s idea or whoever, the bottom line is that some opinions are more valuable than others. I think that experience counts a lot, but perhaps that is another blog.

I was thinking of this as I was tasting 2010 barrel samples in the tasting room of my hotel, Les Sources de Caudalie. I had about 50 samples in front of me and I tasted my way through them. After an hour, I realized that the wines started to taste tight, tannic, and even slightly austere. Was it the wines or me?

I looked outside and I saw a cold front rolling over the vineyards with rain and all sorts of bad shit. And I started feeling cold and sort of achy. I thought that maybe the wines were feeling the same way. They were closing down. They were battening down the hatches for the tempest that was arriving. The atmospheric pressure was dropping.

So, I gave them a little more time in the glass. I tried to better understand what their flavors and structures were. And I think I got it right. It’s all in a day’s work as a wine critic. :)

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Aazara

March 20, 2011


As always. Fantastic. A pleasure to have some insights on how you work.

plzachar

March 21, 2011


James, I did not realize that atmospheric pressure and temperature make a big difference in wine tasting! Thanks for pointing that out!

oenophil

March 22, 2011


You're great James, wine has feelings and it has to be understood. It's all about time and place.

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